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Beck and Call

Be your customers' servant--and get amazing results.

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This story appears in the July 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Why can't we all just take customer service for granted? Shouldn't it simply boil down to decent manners? Have business standards sunk so low that common decency is now the factor distinguishing the mediocre from the excellent? Treating customers well has become so extraordinary that an entire training industry has been created simply to teach people how to be nice.

"America doesn't understand that real service means being servile-to take a subservient position with the customer, to obey without question," says Evelyn Echols, CEO of Echols Travel and Hotel Institute in Chicago. "When you have that attitude, it's hard for customers not to warm up to you real fast. How can they resist doing business with you, especially when you are such a refreshing change in the marketplace?"

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